Mobile data phone plan video streaming
Telstra News |

Why we’re changing our mobile plans, and what you’ll get out of it

By Michael Ackland June 30, 2020

We know that you want and are using more mobile data than ever – so we’ve updated our plans and pricing to meet that need as we continue the rollout of Australia’s largest 5G network. As part of our huge reimagining of what Telstra is and does for our customers through our T22 strategy, we’re committed to responding to what you want from us.

Last year, as we moved to plans which had no lock-in contracts and no excess data charges in Australia, we radically changed the way we worked. If you have a mobile plan with Telstra, you now have the freedom to move up and down plans to suit your budget and data use each month, so you only pay for what you want.

One year on from when we introduced our new mobile plans, we’ve seen a fundamental change in the way Australians are living and working through the coronavirus pandemic. To that end, we’re refreshing our mobile plans with up to 30GB of extra data, including 5G network access on selected plans for customers with a compatible device in 5G areas waiving the $15 additional fee for 5G access, and helping to ensure those who may be struggling financially have options to suit their needs.

Here’s the bottom line: From July 1, in line with the extra data we’ve added, prices will rise by $5 per month on new Small, Medium and Large mobile plans. Our Small plan gains 10GB of extra data for a total of 40GB per month, while Medium and Large plans both add 20GB for a total of 80GB and 120GB a month respectively. Our Extra Large plan will rise by $15, and include 30GB of extra data for a total of 180GB. We’re including 5G access on Medium and above plans as part of this shift.

The good news for existing customers who migrate to our new plans before September 30 is that they won’t see any price rise for 12 months. We’ll be contacting these customers about their plans changes to encourage them to migrate and take advantage of this rebate.

Importantly, following the conclusion of our 12-month free 5G trial, we have decided not to charge a separate fee for 5G on our new month to month plans. Customers will be able to continue getting 5G if they are on eligible plans or by switching to our Medium and above plans.

This is ultimately because 5G’s capability to handle more data-intensive uses like streaming means that customers with 5G use more data – so we’ve given our 5G-capable plans even more of it. A small number of customers on existing Small plans who have a 5G handset will be migrated to a Medium plan, which includes 5G access – but those customers will be given an equivalent monthly rebate for 12 months to ensure they’re not unexpectedly paying more.

In addition to the extra data and 5G access, we’re also including access to Foxtel’s new streaming service Binge on us for a minimum of three months for all customers on these new plans, as well as extending our offer of Kayo sports streaming for as little as $15 per month. We’re also boosting the points earning rate for Telstra Plus, our rewards program for customers, and giving all Telstra Plus members an additional three months of Binge. Silver and Gold members get even more – an additional six or nine months (on top of the three months for all customers), for a total of up to 12 months access to Binge on us.

After looking at how we can better support our customers during financial hardship, we’re also adopting a more enduring package of measures for those who need them. These measures include permanently removing late fees for customers on direct debit, adding the option online to immediately suspend services as your needs change or if you need to reduce your spend, and extending the application date for our discounted Connected Family internet offer to September 30 for eligible low-income families. We’re also continuing our $30 Value Offer mobile plan for eligible customers with a healthcare card.

As Australia begins to return to a new normal, and as we all learn to live more safely with the ongoing presence of coronavirus in our communities, we too are adapting our mobile plans to face the future. We’ve seen first-hand the dramatic change in the way Australians are working and living, how we are using our mobile phones and mobile data more than ever, and we believe we’ve got the balance right.

Southern Cross Subsea Cable Network route survey
Business and Enterprise | Network |

Keeping the world online during COVID-19

By Oliver Camplin-Warner May 28, 2020

When COVID-19 sent workers out of their offices and into their homes, people wanted one thing more than masks, gloves and toilet paper – they wanted data, and lots of it. While we’ve been ensuring the health and safety of our team is our top priority, this explosion in demand for data – which has set new records on an almost daily basis – has seen us working around the clock to maintain our international network during this pandemic.

Our international network sees a dizzying amount of traffic on any given day, but the increase in data being sent back-and-forth during COVID-19 is truly massive. Data demands have spiked significantly, seemingly overnight, by up to 50% on our international networks.

The mission

Telstra International works to connect the world to Asia, and Asia to the world. We’re proud to have the largest subsea cable network in the Asia-Pacific region, also spanning the crucial trans-Pacific route to connect the world.

Threading more than 400,000kms under the ocean floor, it circles the world almost 10 times. These connections are submerged beneath the waves, meaning that protecting, maintaining and innovating them is a full-time job for our cross-regional team. We’re always striving for better connectivity via subsea cables.

But when the pandemic hit, we realised that we needed to double down on our mission and ensure our network – which provides crucial connectivity for applications and platforms around the world – stays strong, connected and resilient for not only our customers, but our customers’ customers.

We’ve managed to keep our network alive and thriving thanks to the substantial capacity and headroom we have available to cater for unexpected traffic peaks.

Subsea cable repairs

Staying connected

The sudden and significant spike in traffic has come from several sources – the upticks in use of video for work, play and education, as well as large-scale Software as a Service (SaaS) adoption from companies moving their businesses online.

We found early on that people wanted to stay informed, entertained and even well-educated. Research by cybersecurity firm, Imperva, found that network traffic increased dramatically for news (+64%); retail (+28%); gaming (+28%); education (+17%), and law/government services (+17%). Meanwhile, there was a decrease in network traffic related to sports (-46%); travel (-42%), and automotive (-35%).

Companies rapidly adopting online tools such as Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Office 365 are particularly keen to ensure their connectivity stays strong during this time, and we’re working hard to enable this pivot.

For example, we’ve upgraded WebEx links to data centres as we experience huge increases in the number of virtual meetings taking place. We have seen WebEx traffic grow significantly and globally, while Cisco traffic in March increased by 66% compared to pre-global lockdown.

We’re also splitting traffic to allow direct access to Office 365 and WebEx without clogging up corporate networks that may not have the headroom we do.

We connect 11 of the top 12 technology companies in the Fortune 500 to Asia. As such, we’re continuing to work hard with all of our relevant partners on increasing capacity within their networks to keep up with the demand and deliver data efficiently. We’ll continue this work post-COVID-19 as businesses continue to change the way they work.

Our people are also working hard across the Asia-Pacific region to enable this boost to our connectivity stack. When the pandemic broke out, our first and top priority was the health and wellbeing of our team. As seasoned workers from home, we were able to quickly move to remote working, with those who couldn’t split into A and B-teams across Hong Kong and Singapore, with one team working in the main Network Operations Centre and the second working in a back-up facility to build resilience in our people as well as our network.

Meanwhile, our cable maintenance ships worked with port operators around Asia to ensure they could continue working on our network at sea. We pre-booked hotel rooms in the region to hold crews for 14-days prior to a ship coming in so that they were cleared to board the ship when it was time to changeover. And to keep ships operational, we used supply vessels to replenish stock at sea.

We’re always ready to roll with changing circumstances to keep the world connected.

The demand for data is unlikely to drop, even as restrictions are scaled back around the world. Our networks are already designed to manage a significant increase in traffic with minimal impact on services, which is critical during times like these.

We’ve assessed the utilisation of our network between countries and continents, as different areas respond in different ways to the pandemic, which allows us to implement business continuity planning to ensure we’re keeping the network performing for everyone who needs it.

Small business woman working from home on desktop computer with daughter on tablet
Telstra News |

Supporting our customers during COVID-19

By Andrew Penn April 14, 2020

As people around Australia increasingly begin working and studying from home or self-isolating as part of the national response to COVID-19, demand for connectivity is rising rapidly. To play our part, Telstra is giving our consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. We want to help our customers, who find themselves having to work from home, stay connected.

Update: We understand that the situation around COVID-19 is ongoing. As a result, we will be extending many of our consumer offers through to 30 June 2020. Please read below for additional details and eligibility criteria.

From Thursday 19 March we are providing our consumer and small business home broadband customers (ADSL, NBN and Cable) with unlimited data at no additional charge on their plan until 30 June 2020. The data, which will be provided automatically, will help facilitate videoconferencing; voice over Wi-Fi, and cloud connectivity, all important tools when working from home or in isolation.

We are also giving our consumer and small business mobile customers more data. Post-paid customers (both handheld and mobile broadband) can receive an extra 25GB of data on their plan to use in Australia within 30 days to facilitate the need for a more mobile workforce. Post-paid customers can apply for the extra data via our Telstra 24×7 and My Telstra Apps until 30 June 2020 and the data will be available within 24-48 hours.

We are also keeping those experiencing hardship connected. We are offering JobSeeker discounts to eligible customers, and those with a valid eligible Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card can take advantage of a new $30/month Value Mobile Offer. You can find more details on these offers on Telstra Exchange.

Eligible pensioners with a Telstra home phone plan will also be able to make unlimited local, national and 13/1300 calls, and calls to Australian mobiles, from their home phone in Australia to make staying in touch with friends and family simpler. This is available from Thursday until the 30 June 2020.

We also have offers available to small business customers, including the ability to hibernate your business.

With data traffic increasing, we are encouraging customers to make use of the self-service tools available on the latest Telstra 24×7 apps for iOS and Android. This allow customers to check account information and pay bills while easing the burden on our call centres.

We are also making it easy for our customers to access more self-serve billing options to cater for the scenario they may have found themselves in via our new online self-service hub.

Via the online hub, Telstra customers can access options including:

  • Entering into a payment plan with Telstra.
  • Entering into an agreement to pay at a later agreed date.
  • Suspending any or all services for up to 90 days, and reconnecting free of charge at the end of that period or beforehand if they’re ready to do so.
  • Downsizing their plan if they can no longer afford the plan they are on.

COVID-19 is a global challenge, we are all affected, and we all need to play our part in the response.

From Telstra’s perspective, an important part of that is ensuring everyone has the tools they need to stay in touch and keep business flowing during this challenging time.

Things you need to know

Telstra’s FairPlay Policy applies to our unlimited broadband offer.

Pre-Paid Max/Extra/Plus/Freedom Anytime/Freedom Unlimited customers: Unused bonus data expires after 28 days and will not rollover.

Entertainment |

The biggest download spikes of the year: by the numbers

By Luke Hopewell December 24, 2019

Break out the floss and hit ‘em with the dab: Fortnite absolutely dominated our network this year! We’ve taken a look at the numbers and found the top data spikes for 2019.

We break our network down into two categories: fixed and wireless, each with their own distinct data spikes throughout the year.

On our fixed network, Fortnite dominated! Four of the top 10 data spikes of the year coincided with big Fortnite updates, including the release of Chapter 2 and milestone patches.

Elsewhere in the top 10, streaming dominated the charts. The Australian premiere of The Mandalorian on newly minted streaming service Disney+; the Australia Day Weekend and the Cricket World Cup all made the top 10.

# Week Key Contributors[1]
1 14 October Fortnite 11 Chapter 2 Release
2 18 November Disney + Launch & Mandalorian Premiere (AU)
3 28 January Australia Day Weekend
4 08 April Easter Holidays
5 25 March Fortnite 8.1 Release
6 26 August Fortnite 10.2 Release
7 25 February Fortnite 8.0 Release
8 7 October Labour Day Weekend
9 10 June Cricket World Cup & Queens Birthday Holiday
10 30 September First weekend after sports season

Out and about on the mobile network, Halloween and big sporting events took over as people communicated with their friends and sent pictures and videos back-and-forth. The biggest data spike on mobile was the equivalent of approximately 1.3 million HD Movie Downloads or 850 million Instagram uploads.

# Week Key Contributors [1]
1 26 October Halloween Weekend / Rugby World Cup / Cox Plate
2 23 November Australia v Pakistan Cricket / Bushfire Crisis
3 29 November Black Friday Weekend
4 21 September Prelim AFL – Collingwood vs GWS
5 28 September AFL Grand Final – Richmond vs GWS

While we predict that this year voice calls and Christmas messages (SMS, MMS & Telstra Messaging) will be similar in volume to last year (46 million and 44 million respectively). We expect that data volume will jump more than 50% year on year to around 3.5 Petabytes. That is equivalent to approximately 1.4 million downloads of Love Actually.

Coomera: the data capital of the nation

Take a short drive from Brisbane down toward Queensland’s Gold Coast and you’ll stumble upon the regional gem of Coomera. Flanked by picturesque golf courses and the quiet, lapping banks of the aptly named Coomera River, this town of just over 13,000 people boasts the biggest data usage in the nation for 2019!

Queensland’s state average for monthly data consumption is a little over 268GB per month, making it the second highest data consuming state in the nation behind the Northern Territory. Coomera eclipses the state average, consuming a whopping 445.8GB per month per household.

Must be big Fortnite players in Coomera, we guess?

Coomera narrowly edged out a variety of other suburbs for their whopping data usage, mainly in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales:

State/Territory Suburb Usage per household (GB)
QLD COOMERA 445.8
VIC ROXBURGH PARK 443.48
QLD PIMPAMA 441.6
WA BANKSIA GROVE 433.62
QLD SPRINGFIELD 429.5
TAS GAGEBROOK 428.47
NSW EDMONDSON PARK 424.6
TAS HERDSMANS COVE 423.5
NSW CANLEY HEIGHTS 417.1
SA ANDREWS FARM 416.18

State-by-state, the Northern Territory came in first place as we mentioned with 290GB per month per household, followed by Queensland, Western Australia (251.4GB/month); Victoria (244.86GB/month); New South Wales (242.4GB/month); Tasmania (233GB/month); South Australia (228.11GB/month), and the Australian Capital Territory (222.2GB/month).


[1] Between 1 January 2019 and mid-December 2019. Events noted correlate with the traffic peaks but might not be the only or biggest cause of data spikes on these dates.

5G | Entertainment | Network | Tech and Innovation |

5G arrives at the MCG, just in time for the AFL Grand Final

By Nikos Katinakis September 22, 2019

This Saturday Richmond and Greater Western Sydney will play in the AFL Grand Final.

These two teams will bring a bumper crowd and we’re giving fans an early present by turning on our new 5Gcoverageat the MCG – it’s 5G at the G.

Customers on Telstra 5G can expect an enhanced network experience, with faster downloads, better browsing and connectivity. 

5G arrives at the MCG, just in time for the AFL Grand Final

The Tiger Army will be in full force as will Giants fans too, and the added network capacity that 5G offers is hugely beneficial at big events like this.  

A crowd of up to 100,000 people is expected to pack the MCG.

Lastyear we saw a massive 3.8 terabytes of data sent over our mobile network from the MCG alone, up 22% from the previous year. That’s equivalent to 1200 hours of video content or 27 billion SMS messages.

We’ve been on a mission to connect the MCG to the networks of the future since 2015 when we partnered with the Melbourne Cricket Club, who run the venue, to bolster capacity with an innovative 3G/4G coverage solution.

5G arrives at the MCG, just in time for the AFL Grand Final
From left: Stuart Fox, MCC, Emilio Romeo, Ericsson and Nikos Katinakis, Telstra

The arrival of 5G at the ‘G marks yet another milestone in our relationship with the historic venue.

That system has performed incredibly well over the last four years, and now, in partnership with Ericsson, we are once against enhancing our coverage at the ground, both with the latest 4G technology as well as introducing 5G coverage for the first time. 

We’re excited to continue our partnership with Ericsson here in Australia. Every time we meet with our friends from Ericsson, we’re always talking about what’s next in our connectivity journey.

I toured the MCG installation with Ericsson’s Australian CEO, Emilio Romeo on the weekend. Emilio told me that this collaboration with Telstra and MCC is another example of industry working together to drive 5Gadvancement, andresponding to growing demand for increased data and enhanced experiences. And I agree, this ensures Australia remains at the forefront of telecommunications technology.

The executive team at the MCC, led by CEO Stuart Fox, has also told us that they’re pleased to be the first stadium in Australia to provide patrons with access to 5G. 5G at the ‘G puts the MCC into an elite category to cater to international broadcasters, media and fans.

While 5G is ready for the opening bounce, we’re not done perfecting the best connectivity experience at the ground. Our engineers in concert with Ericsson will continue to evaluate the deployment and design, making improvements each week to optimise 4G and 5G coverage at the home of footy.

Play on!

5G arrives at the MCG, just in time for the AFL Grand Final